- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is likely to be nominated to be President Obama’s Commerce Secretary nominee, the third choice for the administration still missing key Cabinet posts.

A senior administration official said Mr. Locke, the first Chinese American governor in history, is the likely nominee.

Mr. Locke, 59, was first elected as governor in 1996 and served two terms.

The pick comes after two nominees withdrew from consideration for starkly different reasons.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, one of Mr. Obama’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, removed himself in January due to an ongoing ethics investigation in his home state.

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire was nominated last month to hold the post, with both him and Mr. Obama saying the could put aside party differences to help the economy.

But one week later Mr. Gregg abruptly pulled himself from consideration, embarrassing the White House.

Mr. Obama also lost Health and Human Services Secretary designate Tom Daschle, who withdrew his nomination due to the revelation he had three years of unpaid taxes on a friend’s gift of a car service and driver. Chief performance officer-designate Nancy Killefer withdrew that same day due to a small tax lien on her home.

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